He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:11, ESV)
I am often amazed at the level of detail that God puts into even the smallest of His creations. To engineer them so they can function is marvelous enough, but God gives many of them beauty and detail that they don’t need for survival or functionality. He just adds those things because He is a God Who pays attention to detail. It is a level of care that makes you consider: “If God pays so much attention to detail in these things? How much more is He involved in the details of my life?” (See Luke 12:27-28)
Our verse today was addressed to the church at Smyrna. It was one of only two churches in the book of Revelation that was not criticized by the Lord, the other being the church at Philadelphia. Both suffered severe persecution. What is striking about the message to Smyrna is how detailed it is. This was no mysterious revelation. This was the Lord letting these suffering Christians know that not only was He aware of their suffering and their faithfulness to Him, He was right there with them. In verse 10 the Lord says: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10, ESV) With these words, He lets the church at Smyrna know that He is aware of everything they were and would be enduring, but He assures them there will be and end to it: “ten days you will have tribulation.” He also offers them hope: To those who endure, there is the Crown of Life, rescue from eternal death. (See Matthew 10:28) When He opened His message to these believers, the Lord introduced Himself as “the first and the last, who died and came to life.” That was no accident. Many of these believers were literally giving their lives for the cause of Christ. They needed assurance that their devotion to Christ was not in vain. Those specific words reminded them that they serve a risen Savior and that because He lives, they would live too. To further drive that point home, Jesus ended His message with the words: “the one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death,” the second death meaning eternity in Hell. It was a reiteration of Jesus’ promise of eternal life to those who put their trust in Him. The Lord told these believers exactly what they needed to hear because He cared for them down to the last detail.